UNEMPLOYMENT figures have rocketed across the area with almost 600 more people out of work.
Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant saw 574 more people claiming Jobseekers Allowance last month compared to December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.
This takes south Hampshire’s total jobless figure to 9,672 – 2.8 per cent of the population – with all areas seeing a rise in unemployment.
Portsmouth saw the largest increase in unemployment with the number of people out of work increasing by 282, to 4,877.
In Fareham it went up from 1,067 to 1,163, while Gosport rose by 101 to 1,440.
And jobless numbers in Havant went up by 95, to 2,192.
Portsmouth Tory councillor Donna Jones said: ‘It’s really sad that we now have almost 600 fewer people paying tax and working in the area.
‘We are looking at all the possibilities to help combat this, including working with local businesses to help create more apprenticeships.
‘One of my biggest concerns is the number of 16 to 25-year-olds who, after leaving school, never get a job and therefore never get into the routine of going to work.
‘This creates a negative pattern and is why we are so keen to create more apprenticeships.’
Nationally, unemployment rose by 44,000 to 2.5 million – 7.9 per cent of the population – between October and December last year.
Those aged 16 to 24 were hit particularly hard during this period with figures increasing by 66,000 to 20.5 per cent of the age group’s population – the highest since records began in 1992.
The number of people throughout the UK claiming Jobseekers Allowance increased by 2,400 last month to 1.46 million.
The ONS reported 40,000 more job vacancies from October to January than the previous three months, but also points out most of these new vacancies were temporary jobs, working on the 2011 Census.
Excluding this, there were just 8,000 more vacancies. Figures show that in Gosport for every job advertised in the town there are 11 people out of work, while in Havant it’s nine people out of work for every job available.